Tag Archives: paraprosdokian


Good writing doesn’t always have to be serious!

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a phrase or sentence surprises the reader (or listener) to rethink the beginning of the phrase/sentence. It can be used for humorous or dramatic effect.  Stand-up comedians call ’em punchlines, political pundits know them as zingers, mystery writers might use them for a “twist.”

Regardless, they keep our readers (or listeners) on their toes. A  few examples …

  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.vending
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  • The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  • Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

Got any of your own?




Filed under English language, grammar, literary terms, reading, writing